Cha-Ching Weight-Loss!

I’m no daredevil, but you start offering cash and it’s a lot easier to get me to do things. Apparently same goes for weight-loss. New research contends people will lose weight for even a little money. Elizabeth Dunbar of the Associated Press has more:
The research published in the September issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that cash incentives can be a success even when the payout is as little as $7 for dropping just a few pounds in three months.


Unlike providing onsite fitness centers or improving offerings in the company cafeteria, cash rewards provide a company with a guaranteed return, the researchers said.

"They really can't be a bad investment because you don't pay people unless they lose weight," said Eric A. Finkelstein, the study's lead author and a health economist at RTI International, a research institute based in nearby Research Triangle Park.
You’d think a long-healthy life would be incentive enough! Here’s some more ridiculous weight-loss news:

The Perfect Waistline?

The New York Times talks to Dr. Walter Willett, a nutritional epidemiologist at Harvard University, about achieving the perfect waistline. Check it out:
What did you weigh at age 20? As it turns out, that’s when your body probably settled into its ideal weight. By 20, almost everyone has stopped growing, and the pounds gained in the years following are mostly fat, says Dr. Walter Willett, a nutritional epidemiologist at Harvard University.


For most of us, what you weighed at age 20 is a far better gauge for judging your ideal weight than the standard weight and body mass index charts. Most of those tables cover such a wide range of weights that they can be misleading. According to many of them, the perfect weight for a woman who is 5-foot-7 could range anywhere from 118 to 159 pounds.

But what if that same woman weighs 159 pounds today, at age 40, but weighed 120 pounds in her early 20’s? That means her body has packed on 39 pounds — a gain of more than 30 percent, or about two pounds a year. The charts may say she’s healthy, but studies show that even a modest weight gain in adulthood is associated with a higher mortality risk.
This sounded familiar. So I asked Dr. Fuhrman about it. Here’s what he had to say:
That is essentially what I have been telling patients in my practice for years and years.
Now, in Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman sums up how he determines if you’re thin or not. Have a look:
Most people lose weight and then stop losing when they have reached their ideal weight. You are not the judge of your ideal weight; your body is. As almost everyone is overweight, many people think they are too thin when they have reached their best weight. I have many patients who, after following my plan to reverse diabetes or heart disease, report, "Everyone tells me I look too thin now." I then measure their periumbilical fat and check their percentage of body fat, and usually show them they are still not thin enough.
I know a lot of you just pinched your tummy.

More Nutrients and Fiber Will Reduce Your Caloric Drive

If you consume sufficient nutrients and fiber, you will become biochemically filled (nutrients) and mechanically filled (fiber), and your desire to consume calories will be blunted or turned down. One key factor that determines whether you will be overweight is your failure to consume sufficient fiber and nutrients.


Thursday: Health Points

Burger King Holdings Inc., the world's second largest hamburger chain, said it has set nutritional guidelines to follow when targeting children under 12 in advertising, including limiting ads to Kids Meals that contain no more than 560 calories, less than 30 percent of calories from fat and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugars.

In that vein, Burger King is building a Kids Meal that will contain the flame-broiled Tenders, organic unsweetened applesauce and low-fat milk, for a total of 305 calories and 8.5 grams of fat. It will be available in restaurants sometime in 2008, the company said.

The fast-food chain is also developing what it calls BK Fresh Apple Fries. The red apples are cut to resemble french fries and are served in the same containers as fries, but they are not fried and are served skinless and cold.
The report, written by Charles Courtemanche for his doctoral dissertation in health economics, found that the 13 percent rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling pump prices.


Gasoline hit a low of less than $1.50 per gallon in 2000 before moving back to a record high of $3.22 in May 2007.

Higher gasoline prices can reduce obesity by leading people to walk or cycle instead of drive and eat leaner at home instead of rich food at restaurants.
One study found that Avandia, made by GlaxoSmithKline, doubled the risks of heart failure and raised the risks of heart attack by 42 percent. A second study found that Actos, a similar drug made by Takeda, actually lowered the risks of heart attacks, strokes and death but, like Avandia, also raised risks of heart failure.


Taken together, some of the authors said, the two studies in The Journal of the American Medical Association confirm what doctors and patients using Avandia have already done in great numbers, that is, switch to another drug. Sales of Avandia have plunged.

GlaxoSmithKline said in a written statement that the studies were flawed and “offered no new information on the safety of Avandia.” The company “continues to support Avandia as safe and effective when used appropriately,” the statement said.
Obesity has more than doubled in Australia in the last 20 years and is placing an uncomfortable strain not only on waistlines but on health services, the Australian General Practice Network said.


To combat the spiralling problem, it wants the government to give the overweight a 170 dollar (141 dollar US) subsidy to do something about their expanding physique.

The network, which represents general practitioners, said effective weight-loss programmes were often too expensive, particularly for those with modest incomes.
Amid worries of an obesity epidemic and its related illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, Los Angeles officials, among others around the country, are proposing to limit new fast-food restaurants -- a tactic that could be called health zoning.


The City Council will be asked this fall to consider an up to two-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in South L.A., a part of the city where fast food is at least as much a practicality as a preference.

"The people don't want them, but when they don't have any other options, they may gravitate to what's there," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who proposed the ordinance in June, and whose district includes portions of South L.A. that would be affected by the plan.
"This is a major public-health problem," said Rebecca Din-Dzietham of the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, who led the study, which will be published in the Sept. 25 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation. "Unless this upward trend in high blood pressure is reversed, we could be facing an explosion of new cardiovascular-disease cases in young adults and adults."


With an adult form of diabetes already being diagnosed more frequently in children and more young people developing high cholesterol, the new finding is another indication that the obesity epidemic is spawning a generation at heightened risk for illnesses that struck their parents and grandparents only later in life, experts said.

"This is very worrisome," said Elizabeth Nabel, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. "This is another piece of evidence suggesting that the obesity epidemic will likely turn into a heart-disease epidemic."
A gaping hole exists between conventional medicine and diet. Conventional medicine claims that the cause of Type 2 diabetes is unknown. Medical doctors, as practitioners of conventional medicine, are not trained to explain how it happened. They treat symptoms with medicine. The business of medicine is medicine. The business of diabetes would be devasted if the cure was as simple as diet. The explanation Thomas Smith provides in his empirical studies is fascinating and I encourage anybody with competing or supporting evidence to open the debate.
"Women who have this disorder usually are interested in exercise to improve their appearance, but an instructor who emphasizes physique during a workout may deter such students from coming back," said Brian Focht, assistant professor of health behavior and health promotion at Ohio State, and a co-author of the study.


The study, which was published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, indicated women in the study reported that they enjoyed a step aerobics class more when the instructor focused on how the workout was making them more fit.

Even though most of the women studied took the class primarily because they were concerned about their body image, they enjoyed the class less and were less likely to take another if the instructor emphasized how a particular exercise would tone their legs, slim their waists, or otherwise improve their appearance, the researchers found.
A new study from Yale shows that 75 percent of physicians in training surveyed do not understand the statistics used in medical literature. The study surveyed internal medicine residents at 11 programs across the country.


The residents scored an average of 41% correct on the test and the senior residents scored worse than the junior residents, possibly reflecting a loss of knowledge over time.

Tuesday: Health Points

Four years ago, Arkansas became the first state in the nation to track the number of overweight students in its schools. School officials say it has helped improve the state's childhood obesity rate.

A new report released Monday shows that while obesity is still a problem, the obesity rate in Arkansas's school children isn't rising.

State health officials said last year's mandatory BMI — body mass index — screenings showed that 20.6 percent of tested schoolchildren were overweight, while 17.2 percent were risk for being overweight, about the same figures as the previous year.
  • Here’s a cool veggie slideshow Dr. Fuhrman sent over the other day. Check it out, it’s over at MSN:
More and more consumers -- new mothers are leading the pack -- are expressing concern about potentially toxic chemicals in plastic products. Baby blogs are abuzz with warnings about chemicals in baby bottles and toys. Retailers say that demand for glass baby bottles is higher than it's been in decades and that shoppers are snatching up bottles and training cups made from plastics without bisphenol A. California lawmakers have taken notice: Last week, the state Legislature passed a bill to ban certain phthalates in plastic items meant for children younger than 3.


Recent widely publicized studies have shown that plastics are not only ubiquitous in the environment (marine researchers have shown that plastic debris outweighs zooplankton in remote parts of the Pacific), but are found in the bodies of nearly all Americans too. Scientists have hypothesized that chemicals in certain plastics may be linked to such conditions as asthma and even obesity. But most of the research, and the strongest evidence, points to effects that certain plastics chemicals appear to exert on the reproductive system. Findings are still considered preliminary (existing studies are small and few), but reports are enough to make consumers ask: Are plastics safe?
Researchers studying the enzyme that converts starch to simple sugars like glucose have found that people living in countries with a high-starch diet produce considerably more of the enzyme than people who eat a low-starch diet.


The reason is an evolutionary one. People in high-starch countries have many extra copies of the amylase gene which makes the starch-converting enzyme, a group led by George H. Perry of Arizona State University and Nathaniel J. Dominy of the University of California, Santa Cruz, reported yesterday in the journal Nature Genetics.

The production of the extra copies seems to have been favored by natural selection, according to a genetic test, the authors say. If so, the selective pressure could have occurred when people first started to grow cereals like wheat and barley at the beginning of the Neolithic revolution some 10,000 years ago, or even much earlier.
Jensen's Old Fashioned Smokehouse Inc. is recalling two smoked-salmon spread products because they may be contaminated with bacteria known as Listeria monocytogenes.


The recall includes 480 7-ounce plastic tubs of Jensen's Seattle Style Wild Smoked Salmon Spread Lemon Dill and Onion and 132 7-ounce plastic tubs of PCC brand Smoked Salmon Spread allnatural.

The products were distributed in Western Washington retail stores, the Seattle company said.

The Jensen's wild smoked-salmon spread in question is coded "sell By 10/14/07 and 10/15/07" and the PCC brand Smoked Salmon Spread all-natural is coded "sell By 9/29/07."

The company said no illnesses have been confirmed.
Some researchers have suspected that low levels of vitamin D contribute to the disorder, which is characterized by soaring blood pressure and swelling of the hands and feet, but the new study is the first to examine its role directly.

Pre-eclampsia affects as many as 7 percent of first pregnancies and can progress to eclampsia, which produces seizures and often-fatal complications of the liver, kidneys, lungs, blood and nervous system. Eclampsia causes 15 percent of maternal deaths during pregnancy and as many as 70 percent of such deaths in developing countries.

Epidemiologist Lisa M. Bodnar and her colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health Sciences studied blood samples taken from women and newborns early in pregnancy and just before delivery. They identified 15 women who suffered pre-eclampsia and compared them with 220 who did not.
The Food and Drug Administration opened a two-day meeting to collect comments from food companies, trade groups, watchdog organizations, medical experts and its overseas counterparts on the topic. Any action is likely years away.


Some food manufacturers and retailers already have begun labeling foods with symbols to indicate how nutritious they are. PepsiCo uses the “Smart Spot” symbol on diet Pepsi, baked Lay’s chips and other products. Hannaford Bros., a New England supermarket chain, uses a zero to three-star system to rate more than 25,000 food items it sells. And in Britain, the government has persuaded some food companies to use a “traffic light” symbol. That ranking system relies on green, yellow and red lights to characterize whether a food is low, medium or high in fat, salt and sugar.
Fairbank Farms, a U.S. ground beef producer, said on Wednesday it is voluntarily recalling beef patties sold to Shaw's Supermarkets in New England because of concerns about bacterial contamination.


Fairbank Farms said the patties could have been purchased by consumers in that area on Wednesday between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Weight-Loss: What if I Have a Slow Metabolic Rate?

Your body weight may be affected slightly by genetics, but that effect is not strong. Furthermore, I am convinced that inheriting a slow metabolic rate with a tendency to gain weight is not a flaw or defect but rather a genetic gift that can be taken advantage of. How is this possible? A slower metabolism is associated with longer life span in all species of animals. It can be speculated that if one lived sixty thousand or just a few hundred years ago, a slower metabolic rate might have increased our survival opportunity, since getting sufficient calories was difficult. For example, the majority of Pilgrims that arrived on our shores on the Mayflower died that first winter.1 They could not make or find enough food to eat, so only those with the genetic gift of a slow metabolic rate survived.

As you can see, it is not always bad to have a slow metabolic rate. It can be good. Sure, it is bad in today’s environment of relentless eating and when consuming a high-calorie, low-nutrient diet. Sure, it will increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease and cancer, given today’s food consumption patterns. However, if correct food choices are made to maintain a normal weight, the individual with a slower metabolism may age more slowly.

Our body is like a machine. If we constantly run the machinery at high speed, it will wear out faster. Since animals with slower metabolic rates live longer, eating more calories, which drives up our metabolic rate, will cause us only to age faster. Contrary to what you may have heard and read in the past, our goal should be the opposite: to eat less, only as much as we need to maintain a slim and muscular weight, and no more, so as to keep our metabolic rate relatively slow. So stop worrying about your slower metabolic rate. A slower metabolic rate from dieting is not the primary cause of your weight problem. Keep these three important points in mind:
1. Resting metabolic rates do decline slightly during periods of lower caloric intake, but not enough to significantly inhibit weight loss.


2. Resting metabolic rates return to normal soon after caloric intake is no longer restricted. The lowered metabolic rate does not stay low permanently and make future dieting more difficult.

3. A sudden lowering of the metabolic rate from dieting does not explain the weight gain/loss cycles experienced by many overweight people. These fluctuations in weight are primarily from going on and getting off diets. It is especially difficult to stay with a reduced-calorie diet when it never truly satisfies the individual’s biochemical need for nutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals.2
Those with a genetic tendency to overweight may actually have the genetic potential to outlive the rest of us. The key to their successful longevity lies in their choosing a nutrient-rich, fiber-rich, lower-calorie diet, as well as getting adequate physical activity. By adjusting the nutrient-per calorie density of your diet to your metabolic rate, you can use your slow metabolism to your advantage. When you can maintain a normal weight in spite of a slow metabolism, you will be able to achieve significant longevity.
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Surgery for Weight Reduction and Its Risks

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), wound problems and complications from blood clots are common aftereffects of gastric bypass and gastroplasty surgery. The NIH has also reported that those undergoing surgical treatment for obesity have had substantial nutritional and metabolic complications, gastritis, esophagitis, outlet stenosis, and abdominal hernias. More than 10 percent required another operation to fix problems resulting from the first surgery.1


Another tempting solution is liposuction. Studies show that liposuction begets a plethora of side effects, the main one being death! A recent survey of all 1,200 actively practicing North American board-certified plastic surgeons confirmed that there are about 20 deaths for every 100,000 liposuctions, whereas the generally acceptable mortality rate for elective surgery is 1 in 100,000.3 Compared with the 16.4 per 100,000 mortality rate of U.S. motor vehicle accidents, liposuction is not a benign procedure. Liposuction is dangerous.

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